The Financial Reality Fair is an approximate 2.5 hour hands-on experience in which students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing and food. Of course, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own.
After they have visited all the booths, students will balance their budget, and then sit down with a financial counselor to review their standing. The Fair is a unique opportunity for each student to experience some of the financial challenges he or she will face when starting life on their own.
An Important Component to a Responsible Financial Lifestyle Is Saving.
In the Financial Reality Fair experience, students are encouraged to save a minimum of 10% of their income, placing 3% in a long-term retirement investment, and 7% in a shorter-term investment. The Financial Counselors explore the importance of planning for future needs and preparing for future financial challenges through savings. The Fair will tempt students to spend their income on “fun,” but the Financial Counselors will bring the focus back to saving and thrift practices.
The Financial Reality Fairs are financially supported as a REAL Solutions project, through the Connecticut CU Solutions Foundation. REAL Solutions focuses on identifying products and services for low-wealth members to improve their financial lives.
The Financial Reality Fair held February 27, 2013 in Washington D.C. during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference did not fail to impress legislators with the important work that credit unions are doing to help improve financial literacy among our nation’s youth.
2013-2014 Connecticut Financial Reality Fair Schedule
- October 9, 2013 – Hamden High School, Hamden
- October 30, 2013 – Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford
- March 26, 2014 – UCONN, Stamford Campus, Stamford
- April 1, 2014 – Central CT State University, New Britain
- April 9, 2014 – Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport
- April 30, 2014 – Torrington High School, Torrington
- May 7, 2014 – Eastern Connecticut, Connecticut College, New London